Drugmakers including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bristol Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Sanofi SA plan to raise prices in the United States (US) on more than 350 unique drugs in early January, according to data analysed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.
The increases are expected to come as the pharma industry prepares for the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which allows the government’s Medicare health programme to negotiate prices directly for some drugs starting in 2026.
The industry is also contending with inflation and supply chain constraints that have led to higher manufacturing costs.
The increases are on list prices, which do not include rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and other discounts.
In 2022, drugmakers raised prices on more than 1,400 drugs according to data published by 46brooklyn, a drug pricing non-profit that is related to 3 Axis.
That is the most increase since 2015.
The median drug price increase was 4.9 per cent last year, while the average increase was 6.4 per cent, according to 46brooklyn.
Both figures are lower than the inflation rates in the US.
To date, Pfizer announced the most increases, with prices rising on 89 unique drug brands and an additional increase on 10 drug brands at its Hospira arm.
That was followed by GSK, with planned increases so far on 26 unique drugs, including nearly a seven per cent increase on its popular shingles vaccine Shingrix.
Notable increases expected include nine per cent price hikes on Bristol Myers Squibb’s personalised CAR-T cell therapies Abecma and Breyanzi, both of which were already more than $400,000 for the blood cancer treatments.
A company spokesperson said there were several driving factors in increasing the list price of the two CAR-T cell therapies, including the rate of inflation, the value of the therapies, and the personalised nature of the CAR-T manufacturing process.
Increases for Pfizer include a six per cent rise on the cost of Xeljanz, a treatment for auto-immune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, and 7.9 per cent increase on cancer drugs Ibrance and Xalkori.
A Pfizer spokesperson said in an email that the company’s average list prices for drugs and vaccines in 2023 are well below overall inflation at approximately 3.6 per cent, noting that the increases are needed to support investments in drug discovery.
AstraZeneca is set to raise prices in the three per cent range on blood cancer treatment Calquence, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) drug Tagrisso and asthma treatment Fasenra.
“AstraZeneca has always taken a thoughtful approach to pricing, and we continue to do so, considering many factors,” said company spokesman Brendan McEvoy.
Sanofi plans to raise prices on 14 of its drugs or vaccines.
A Sanofi spokesperson said the drugmaker’s 2023 pricing actions are consistent with its approach to responsible pricing, adherence to government policies, and the need to respond to evolving trends in the marketplace.
Edits by EP News Bureau